Key Players

Zachary David Hughes was born in Morro Bay, California in 1992 to Dave Hughes and Mindy Hughes. He has one younger brother named Eli.

In 2005, Dave and Mindy moved young Zack and Eli across the country to Virginia and following the move, adopted five children, all siblings, from Russia to provide these children with a better life. A motion filed in support of bond for Hughes stated that “the addition of these children to the Hughes’ family had a profound impact on Zack.” According to the Hughes family, they were unaware that most or all of these children suffered from significant emotional, psychological, and/or physical adversity due to maltreatment they had received in Russia.

Hughes found an outlet for his mounting stress in music. His parents had purchased a used piano at a yard sale when he was a young boy and noticed quickly that he had an “aptitude for music.” After his adopted siblings joined the family, he lost himself in the piano. His parents told the court he devoted his entire life to it as an escape from his life at home.

During high school, Hughes began entering competitions and won first place in the prestigious Southeastern Piano Festival. This prize earned him a soloist performance with the S.C. Philharmonic Orchestra for a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (the “Emperor Concerto”). Hughes’ talent was undeniable.

In 2010, Hughes applied to The Juilliard School for piano performance. Entrance into Juilliard – a highly competitive performing arts conservatory in New York City – is exceedingly difficult. Despite the highly selective admissions process, Hughes’ talent was noticed by the school and he was not only admitted, but offered numerous scholarships.

When deputies from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office issued an arrest warrant for Zachary David Hughes on November 3, 2021 – charging him with murder in connection with the savage October 13, 2021 slaying 41-year old Christina Parcell – people were shocked. The small community of Greer, South Carolina had already been rocked by the violent murder – and the unexpected arrest of Hughes, a man who seemingly had no nexus to the crime, sowed further confusion and fear.

Who is Zachary David Hughes? And what could have motivated this talented young man with no apparent ties to Christina Parcell to murder her in such a brutal manner? 

Sixty-three-year-old John Mello is a music producer, lyricist, songwriter and vocalist living in Greenville, South Carolina. On his LinkedIn profile page, he claims to have worked with artists including Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Jimmy Page, Christine McVie, Neil Young, Little Richard and Jimmy Cliff.

His resume is certainly impressive when it comes to music – assuming it’s all legit. Mello’s credits on records are difficult to pin down, but there is evidence he at the very least knows several internationally famous musicians.

According to a name change petition filed in Greenville County court in 2019, John Joseph Mello – now known as John Joey Mello – was born on August 8, 1960 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His social security card was issued in 1973 – when he was 13 years old – in California.

After the finalization of a contentious divorce from his first wife in September of 1992, John Mello found love again – marrying a woman named Kasandra.

From there, John Mello and his new wife moved to Oregon … then to Savannah …and then finally to Greenville, South Carolina in 2004.

In May of 2015, Kasandra Mello filed for divorce from John Mello. Their divorce was finalized in August of that same year.  And while it’s unknown when or how Mello met Christina Parcell, in 2016, the first of many incident reports listing both of their names was filed with the local sheriff’s office. In that report, Mello accused Parcell of domestic violence.

At the time of this incident report, Mello reported that he and Parcell had a four-year-old daughter together – meaning she was born at least a couple of years prior to his divorce from Kasandra.  After the 2016 domestic violence report, things continued to go downhill between Mello and Parcell and the drama centered around the same topic – their young daughter.

The savage slaying of 41-year-old Christina Parcell rocked the small upstate community of Greer, South Carolina.

Parcell worked as a technician at Foothills Veterinary Hospital in Greenville, S.C.

Several national media outlets were reportedly in Greenville this week conducting interviews and preparing stories on this saga – which has witnessed numerous twists and turns over the last seventeen months.

Gifted with a “personality the size of a high-rise,” Parcell was described by her veterinary co-workers as “always trying to make everyone feel better.”

“The dogs loved her and she did such an incredible job with them,” one hospital employee wrote.

As for her relationships with humans, Parcell “always had an ear and always tried to make you smile even in the worst of situations,” the co-worker added.

But during the investigation into Parcell’s brutal murder a dark side was revealed.  Investigators announced they had uncovered evidence of criminal activity involving Parcell’s daughter and another minor child. This included shocking photographic evidence discovered by law enforcement at the scene of the stabbing which resulted in the arrest of Parcell’s fianceé – Bradly Post – on nine criminal charges including sexual exploitation of a minor, criminal sexual conduct with a minor and buggery.

Parcell had been the target of a long-term campaign of stalking and harassment carried out by the father of her child, John Mello. Mello was an expert practitioner when it came to stalking – a skilled puppet master who not only followed and tormented Parcell – but appears to have compelled others to do the same. It was a pattern of behavior Mello demonstrated long before his obsession with Parcell began. His first wife and her family and friends lived in fear of Mello because of the excessive, aggressive and threatening words and actions he used against them.

At the same time, Post was a psychosexual predator who covered the expensive attorney fees for Parcell’s ongoing custody battle with Mello – making her ever more indebted to him.

Sixty-eight year old Bradly Post discovered the body of his girlfriend, Christina Parcell, shortly after 11:00 a.m. EST on October 13, 2021 in the front living room of a suburban home owned by her sister, Lutina Parcell.

According to Post, he had placed multiple calls to Parcell on the morning of her murder – calls which went unanswered. When he drove to her sister’s home to check on her, he found her savagely slain.

Post was arrested on October 19, 2021 – but not for killing Parcell. Instead, He was apprehended in connection with a child pornography investigation related to evidence obtained from the murder scene. He is currently facing five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in the first degree, one count of sexual exploitation of a minor in the third degree, one count of third degree criminal sexual content with a minor and one count of buggery.

All of those charges are being prosecuted by the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson.

No court date has been scheduled for Post, and as of this writing he remains incarcerated at the Greenville County detention center.

Additionally, Post and Christina Parcell (or rather, her estate) are listed as defendants in two civil lawsuits – one brought on behalf of Parcell’s own daughter and the other brought on behalf of another minor female allegedly victimized by the couple.

According to the first lawsuit (.pdf) – filed in February 2022 – “Parcell and Post took pictures/ videos of and with (the minor female) in states of undress and in sexually provocative positions.” These images and videos were uncovered “during the investigation of the murder of Parcell.”

According to the second lawsuit (.pdf) – filed last August – Parcell’s own daughter was allegedly photographed and videoed “in various stages of undress and in sexually explicit and nude positions.” Some of these files (graphic content warning) “graphically depict(ed) her genitals and breasts.”

As with the initial civil complaint, this second pleading indicated both Post and Parcell were involved in the alleged abuse – and that the evidence referenced in the civil complaint was uncovered “during the course of the law enforcement investigation of Christina Parcell’s murder.”